When we lost Eagles founder Glenn Frey last year, I wrote an article titled “Eulogy From A Fan,” in which I stated: “The magic of that band was the combination of Don Henley and Glenn Frey. That magic got the band through several lineups, musical changes, a breakup and a reunion. That magic is gone. It can’t be replaced, nor should anyone try to replace it.”
At the time, that was how I felt, mostly because I didn’t see how the band could possibly continue. I felt as if it would just be a Don Henley show with an all-star band. After all, Frey and Henley were the voices behind the band’s biggest hits.
Frey sang “Take It Easy,” “Peaceful Easy Feeling,” “Lyin’ Eyes” and countless other Eagles classics, and on paper, it just doesn’t look like it would work to have someone else singing those songs. But after the band’s tribute performance to Frey on 2016’s GRAMMY Awards with Jackson Browne singing “Take It Easy,” which he co-wrote with Frey, I felt like it might be able to work.
I’m not saying there should be another decade of touring and recording. I still don’t think that would work. I do think, however, that the remaining band members could do at least one last tour as a tribute to Frey. It would also, in a way, bring a form of closure for the fans and perhaps even the band.
After Frey’s passing, Henley said in an interview with BBC Radio 2 that he didn’t think the band would ever perform together again after the GRAMMY tribute.
Henley also said that there were plans to do a “Hotel California” tour, in honor of the album’s 40th anniversary, where the band would play the legendary album in its entirety. Call me crazy, but in my mind, this could still work.
Out of the album’s nine songs, only eight contain vocals. Of those 8, Henley sang five, while Frey sang only one, “New Kid In Town.” The other two songs, “Try and Love Again” and “Pretty Maids All In A Row” were sung by, original bassist, Randy Meisner and, lead guitarist, Joe Walsh respectively.
The latest news has nothing to do with a “Hotel California” tour, however. Two big classic rock festivals, “Classic East” and “Classic West” were recently announced. Taking place this July, the festivals in New York and Los Angeles feature rock legends such as Fleetwood Mac, Journey, Steely Dan and the Eagles.
Though nothing has been confirmed, rumors indicate that the band is looking to hire a country singer to fill-in for Frey during these performances. While some fans debated about who it could be, others argued that it would only be right if one of Frey’s close friends and collaborators, such as Browne, J.D. Souther or Bob Seger filled the role.
Keep in mind, I have no inside knowledge of any kind. That being said, if I had to take a guess, I would say Vince Gill is likely to get the job. Not only did he sing “Peaceful Easy Feeling” at the band’s Kennedy Center Honors tribute this past year, but he’s also friends with Walsh. More importantly, he’s a highly-qualified, highly-respected musician who knows what to do musically to fit any given situation.
Regardless of who is chosen, what shows the band does, or even if this is the end of the Eagles, I feel like they’re making the right decision by giving it one last run. The magic may be gone, but there’s nothing wrong with paying tribute to that magic.